By Bruce Carlson

We have decided to move, and the house is up for sale. The normal flow of life has changed. Moving and the lifestyle changes it brings becomes a challenge. The lifestyle we are used to has been thrown up in the air. Our first challenge was dealing with the idea that our comfortably decorated home wasn’t decorated like the realtor wanted. Our color scheme was too bold. Everything needs to be neutral. Neutral is boring, why can’t people look beyond color when they are buying a house? It’s not a problem for me.

It’s not a problem for me

Next, were the pictures on the wall. OK, we have a lot of pictures on the walls and I can sort of see that being a distraction. You want people to look at the house and not get caught up in your pictures. Yes, the pictures of the grandkids are cute. The picture of crazy Uncle Louie is one of a kind. OK, I get that, but taking down all the pictures means having to repair the holes in the wall. Hmmm, maybe that’s a reason for the realtor to say to paint everything neutral. See the comment above.

As we prepared the house to the realtor’s standards. Our home started to become a house. Walking through the house we started to hear echoing. There was a coldness to the house. We just lived there. Now I don’t know if in realtor school they teach the psychology of preparing the client to move out of their home. Whether they do or not we were being prepared to go. It was time to begin looking for a new home. Now we had to decide where to look.

modern, house, flat

The decision to move was based on a number of factors. As my position at the diocese was changing, it was clear it was time to retire from my position. I couldn’t do the job anymore. It was time for a new start. Our income was going to change and we needed to be in a lower-cost area. Living around Chicago can be expensive. Look at the price of gas. We got the price we asked for our house. If we had to buy our house, I don’t think I would have qualified for the loan. We had to find an area we could afford.

We wanted to be near family. If we were going to leave the Chicago area, being near family was important. Two of our sons live outside of the Chicago area. One in southern Illinois near St. Louis the other in North Carolina. Now I have to admit the idea of living in a warmer area is becoming an interesting idea. Another point was getting to family. How far away do you want to be? I like to drive, but I am noticing long drives are getting a little tiring. So where do we move to?

So where do we move to?

Our decision to move to southern Illinois was based on milder winters. I’m still liking snow, but a shorter winter is a good thing. We’re more in the middle of our three sons’ homes. It’s five hours to Chicago and 12 hours to North Carolina. I was surprised we didn’t get closer to North Carolina. Going straight south and a tad bit west kept the change in the distance a bit closer to what the drive used to be. We’re still a couple of hours closer.

So we know where we want to begin looking for a new home, not a house, but a home. What do we know about the area? First, our youngest son and his family are down there. The type of home we are looking for is less than in the Chicago area. Gas is less. Winter is shorter. Life seems a little slower. I can put up with St. Louis Cardinal fans. The Cubs are higher in the standings. It should be noted that at the time of this writing, the Cardinals are in last place and the Cubs are just above them. We’re both cellar dwellers. We can agree our teams stink this year.:)

It’s been a long time since we bought a home. It’s a totally different approach to buying. As we put our house on the market in North Aurora, we found several online sources we could use to see what was selling near our son’s home. Zillow was the one we started to look at. You could enter parameters on what to look for and get houses based on those parameters. The cool thing was, in most cases, the listing had many pictures of the house for sale. We could get daily showings as houses came on the market.

Looking for a house

We were able to define a price range that would let us buy at a price point that would allow us to lower our current mortgage greatly. The money we would walk away with from our home in North Aurora and the lower cost of a home in the southern end of Illinois was a great plus for us. The challenge was the market inventory we had to select from. Scott Air Force Base is in the area we were looking at and the turnover of base personnel made it hard to view houses. Another drawback was people were paying more for the house than the asking price of the house.

What we learned was the housing market in North Aurora and southern Illinois was hot. The timeline we expected to work on, was going to be a much quicker process. What we thought was going to be a several-month process of selling and buying was going to be a much shorter time frame. I was scheduled to be on a mission in Sucre, Bolivia in the second half of April. I figured the closings of the houses would be well after the mission trip. Well, never say never. As we worked with the realtor on the sale of our North Aurora home, it was clear the sale was going to be much quicker. We needed to find a realtor in southern Illinois or start looking for a rental to live in.

Follow along with us

We hope you are enjoying these articles and are willing to continue to follow along as we move through the process of selling our house, buying a new house (to become our home), and the adventures of learning about life in southern Illinois.